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Systema's top exponent in Dunbeath
  15/05/2004 16:53

Caithness has been playing host to one of the first demonstrations in Scotland of a martial art practised by members of the the Russian equivalent of the SAS.

Local enthusiasts were treated to a two-day self-defence course in Dunbeath being taken by one of Systema's top exponents in the UK.

Systema is a centuries old fighting tradition but it's most commonly associated with the russian Spetsnaz special forces. However its adoption by the former Soviet regime meant that, up until recent years, its been shrouded in secrecy.

Unlike many other martial arts, Systema is non-competitive, with no belts, grades or titles on offer. It's presently practised by a few hundred students in the UK and a masterclass was held for devotees in Caithness.

Dunbeath-based martial arts enthusiast Andrew Usher arranged for the UK's chief Systema instructor to come to the far North.

The workshop covered movement and evasion techniques to counter kicks, holds and punches. Fear response and psychology were also examined.

It's hoped the Caithness sessions will spark off regular interest in running regular classes in the North.

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